Η Ford πιστεύει ότι οι αισθητήρες στα αυτοκίνητα έχουν μέλλον αφού για παράδειγμα οι βιομετρικοί αισθητήρες θα είναι σε θέση να μετρούν τα επίπεδα άγχους του οδηγού και να συμβάλουν στη καλύτερη υποστήριξη του. Αυτή την χρονική περίοδο, η Ford εργάζεται πάνω σε αισθητήρες πραγματικού χρόνου μέσω ραντάρ και καμερών, οι οποίοι μπορούν να αξιολογούν και να παρέχουν βοήθεια, ώστε να μένει ανεπηρέαστη η προσοχή του οδηγού από εξωτερικούς παράγοντες.
Η Ford προσπαθεί επίσης να βρει μεθόδους για τη πρόβλεψη της συμπεριφοράς των οδηγών, προκειμένω να βελτιστοποιήσει την απόδοση των αυτοκινήτων της. Παράλληλα, η Μπλε Οβάλ εταιρία πειραματίζεται πάνω σε μια τεχνολογία που την ονομάζει “προηγμένη μηχανική μάθηση” και ήδη την έχει τοποθετήσει στα plug-in υβριδικά Fusion και C-Max Energi, η οποία μαθαίνει την διαδρομή που ακολουθεί κάθε ημέρα ο οδηγός, έτσι ώστε να εκμεταλεύεται πλήρως τη χρήση του ηλεκτροκινητήρα. Το Fusion μάλιστα είναι το πρώτο μοντέλο της Ford που διαθέτει 74 τέτοιους αισθητήρες οι οποίοι παρακολουθούν το τι συμβαίνει γύρω από το αυτοκίνητο, κάνοντας τη ζωή του οδηγού ευκολότερη.
Από την άλλη, η Ford μηνύθηκε λόγω των υπερβολικά αισιόδοξων νούμερων κατανάλωσης στα υβριδικά της Fusion και C-Max. H Ford δηλώνει ότι αυτά έχουν μέση κατανάλωση 47 MPG, αλλά οι δοκιμές του Consumer Reports έδειξαν ότι το μεν Fusion έχει κατανάλωση 37 MPG, το δε C-Max 39 MPG. Η λογική λέει ότι η Ford θα αναγκαστεί να δώσει αποζημιώσεις στους πελάτες της, όπως έκανε και η Hyundai.
Στις σχετικές ειδήσεις η Ford ανακοίνωσε ότι θα επενδύσει 773 εκατ. δολάρια στα έξι εργοστάσια της στο Νότιο Μίσιγκαν, δημιουργώντας έτσι 2.350 νέες θέσεις εργασίας. Τα χρήματα είναι μέρος της συνολικής επένδυσης ύψους 6,2 δισ. δολαρίων της Ford στην Αμερική έως το 2015, ενώ μέχρι τότε θα προσλάβει 12.000 ωρομίσθιους υπαλλήλους.
Τέλος δες και ένα video με το πως οι μηχανικοί της Ford χρησιμοποιούν τους MakerBot 3D εκτυπωτές για να δοκιμάσουν πρωτότυπα
Ford Is Investing More Than $773 Million Across Southeast Michigan Manufacturing Facilities to Support Growth
Ford is spending more than $773 million on new equipment and capacity expansions across six manufacturing facilities in southeast Michigan as it delivers on a commitment to invest $6.2 billion in U.S. plants by 2015.
The investments in Michigan will create 2,350 new hourly jobs and allow the company to retain an additional 3,240 hourly jobs.
Over the next six months, Ford will upgrade stamping operations at Michigan Assembly Plant and Dearborn Stamping Plant, as well as finalize work at Flat Rock Assembly Plant to produce the new Fusion
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 27, 2012 – Ford Motor Company is spending more than $773 million on new equipment and capacity expansions across six manufacturing facilities in southeast Michigan as it delivers on a commitment to invest $6.2 billion in U.S. plants by 2015.
The investments in Michigan will create 2,350 new hourly jobs and allow the company to retain an additional 3,240 hourly jobs. The 2,350 new positions are part of the 12,000 hourly jobs that Ford is adding across the U.S. by 2015.
“Even as we wrap up an incredibly busy year of capacity expansions and product launches, we are continuing to look to the future,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North America Manufacturing. “These investments, many of which are already under way, will ensure our southeast Michigan manufacturing facilities can support our aggressive growth plans.”
Expansion work at several plants started earlier this year to increase Ford’s capacity to provide transmissions and axles to support growing demand for fuel efficient vehicles and F-Series pickup trucks.
In addition, over the next six months Ford will bring a new stamping press on line at Michigan Assembly Plant; install equipment for four new stamping presses at Dearborn Stamping Plant; and finish expansion work at Flat Rock Assembly Plant to produce the new Fusion next year.
Specifically, Ford is making investments at the following locations:
Michigan Assembly Plant – $59.4 million for stamping press line expansion
Dearborn Stamping Plant -$305 million for plant modernization, new press lines, scrap conveyor system and other machinery and equipment
Flat Rock Assembly – $161 million for machinery and equipment to assemble the new Ford Fusion and as an additional production facility
Sterling Axle Plant – $86 million for machinery and equipment investment to meet axle demand increase and future model changes
Van Dyke Transmission – $87.7 million for machinery and equipment investment to meet capacity expansions for 6F35 and 6F50 transmissions
Livonia Transmission – $74.7 million for machinery and equipment investment for transmission expansion and test equipment
In Transit to 3D Printing Boom, Ford a Major Player in Digital Revolution
3D rapid prototyping enables Ford engineers to create workable parts right at their desks digitally – increasing global efficiency, greatly reducing development time and time to market, and saving cost
Ford is a leader in 3D printing, investing in efforts not only to enable engineers to create an entrepreneurial spirit through experimenting at their workstations, but also investing in one of the newest forms of 3D printing with sand to help develop production-representative parts
Manufacturing and desktop rapid prototyping converge as each Ford EcoBoost® engine – now available in the upcoming Transit Van, all-new Fusion, 2014 Fiesta and full-size F-150 pickup – utilizes the technology to develop parts
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 26, 2012 – In Ford’s Silicon Valley Lab, Dave Evans creates a custom vehicle gauge and emails the 3D design to Zac Nelson in Dearborn. Nelson uses the MakerBot® Thing-O-Matic™ at his workstation and prints up a physical prototype. The future of research and development is happening right here and now at the desks of these Ford engineers.
Just like laser printers today, expect 3D printers to be commonplace tomorrow. Engineers throughout the industry will have the ability to visualize a design on a computer screen and have the physical prototype show up at a colleague’s desk on the other side of the country in minutes. With this capability, the most qualified experts in each domain can make changes that feed into a tangible model. They can then share a 3D CAD design with the improvements.
“We’ve been shifting from the tangible world to the computer world, and the reality is that a hybrid model works best,” says K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader, Open Innovation, and a member of Ford’s Technology Advisory Board, Research and Innovation. “There is nothing like having a tangible prototype, but it has always been time consuming and expensive to create.
“Now, at the press of a button, you can have the product or component at your fingertips,” he adds. “With a model in one hand, you can then input your changes back into the computer model. The best decisions are made from the highest quality engineer and at the best pace.”
Currently thought of as a do-it-yourself tool for independent entrepreneurs and hobbyists, MakerBot enables users to design and produce products in various plastic materials. Ford is using this low-cost 3D printing in similar ways to other technology companies, mainly for small developments like shift knobs, gauges and display modules.
“We encourage our engineers to have the same entrepreneurial and creative spirit that started this movement,” says Prasad. “When we first got the machine, we made a scaled-down replica Model T and engineers have even made superheroes. We like that people are having fun with it and experimenting for it is that type of creativity that will lead to great uses and discoveries.”
Where we are now Ford is using 3D printing in the manufacturing world, bridging the gap between abstract and practical.
Large industrial rapid prototyping machines have made significant gains in the manufacturing world, and Ford is fully invested in the latest commercial 3D printing innovations.
Recently, many of the components for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine in the all-new Transit Van were developed with the aid of 3D rapid manufacturing. Cast aluminum oil filtration adaptors, exhaust manifolds, differential carrier, brake rotors, oil pan, differential case casting and even rear axles were prototyped with the technology, specifically utilizing selective laser sintering, stereolithography and 3D sand casting.
Additionally, Ford is a leader in a new variation on this technology: 3D printing with sand allows for the creation of casting patterns and cores with multiple printers in-house.
The technology enables engineers to quickly create a series of evolving testable pieces with slight variations to develop the absolute best vehicle for mass production. This results in improved efficiency and time to market, reduced time spent waiting on iterations and increased cost savings.
Examples of 3D sand printing include:
C-MAX, Fusion Hybrid: Rotor supports, transmission cases, damper housings and end covers for the new HF35 hybrid transmission built at Van Dyke Transmission Plant in suburban Detroit Escape: EcoBoost four-cylinder engines in the 2013 Escape built at Louisville Assembly Plant Explorer: Brake rotors for the 2011 Explorer built in Chicago. The rotors were modified late in development to address a brake noise issue discovered in durability testing F-150: Exhaust manifolds for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost built in Cleveland and used in F-150
Where this could lead In the not-so-distant future, if a part breaks on your refrigerator, you may be able to scan the barcode or a model number, take the information to an in-home rapid manufacturing machine, and actually print up a useable replacement piece.
“Many have referenced this technology as ushering in a third industrial revolution,” says Harold Sears, Ford additive manufacturing technical specialist. “While that is yet to be determined, we do know manufacturing is continuing to go digital, the speed of these technologies is increasing, and the variety of materials is expanding. This all leads us to believe the potential of micro-manufacturing presents great opportunity for the manufacturing industry overall.”
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About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 172,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.